See What Regular Eye Exams Can Do For You
As we get older, our eyes need more attention and care than they may have previously. After the age of 60, seniors have a higher chance of developing an eye disease that could permanently affect their vision, making eye exams increasingly important.
In fact, many common eye ailments will develop painlessly over time and have few or no early symptoms, meaning seniors may not even notice changes to their vision right away.
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The best way to combat this is by having routine comprehensive, dilated eye exams with an optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye doctor) and always being sure to inform your doctor of any changes you notice in your vision. There are also a few common eye diseases that seniors should know about, including:
- Dry eye is a condition in which a person produces too few or poor-quality tears. Tears maintain the health of the front surface of the eye and provide clear vision. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in seniors.
- Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterized by damage to the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss. People with a family history of glaucoma and older adults have a higher risk. Glaucoma can be painless, with no symptoms. It can take away peripheral (side) vision.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that affects the macula (the center of the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye) and causes central vision loss, while peripheral (side) vision remains unaffected. The macula allows us to see fine detail and colors. Activities like reading, driving, watching TV, and recognizing faces all require good central vision.
What More Is There To Know?
So, you’ve made an appointment to have an eye exam but, what can you expect once you get there? During your eye exam, visual acuity (sharpness), depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement are tested and special eye drops are used to make your pupils larger so your eye specialist can see inside your eyes.
Be sure to bring a pair of sunglasses if you know that you will get your pupils dilated as the drops may make you sensitive to light.
Some other health conditions your doctor may be able to spot can include:
- Tumors: You will be checked for blurry vision, improper pupil dilation (one eye dilating more than the other or remaining fixed), and optic nerve color. If something seems irregular, you may be referred to a neurologist.
- Mental Health: People with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder usually have different eye tracking patterns. Eye specialists can now map those movements through technology.
- Multiple Sclerosis: Most eye tics are benign, but can also be an early indicator of neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s. Your eye specialist can help with early diagnoses by checking for anomalies in your retina and optic nerve.
- Hypertension: Blood vessels in the eye may exhibit bends, kinks, or tears, which may indicate high blood pressure, a known risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and other illnesses, including blindness.
- Diabetes: Diabetes affects the small capillaries in the eye’s retina. These blood vessels may leak blood or a yellowish fluid, which may be discovered in an eye exam. If your eye specialist notices this, you may have a condition called diabetic retinopathy.
If you’d like to learn more about how eye exams are a crucial part of senior health care, what makes Comfort Keepers® brand of personal care so unique, or if you’d like to schedule your free in home consultation please, contact us online anytime or call us at (757) 204-1108.